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This webpage reproduces a portion of
The Library of History

Diodorus Siculus

published in Vol. V
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1950

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
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(Vol. V) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History

Book XII, 60‑84 (end)

 p51  60 1 When Stratocles was archon in Athens, in Rome in place of consuls three military tribunes were elected, Lucius Furius, Spurius Pinarius, and Gaius Metellus.1 This year the Athenians chose Demosthenes general and sent him forth with thirty ships and an adequate body of soldiers. He added to his force fifteen ships from the Cercyraeans and soldiers from the Cephallenians, Acarnanians, and the Messenians in Naupactus, and then sailed to Leucas. After ravaging the territory of the Leucadians he sailed to Aetolia and plundered many of its villages. But the Aetolians rallied to oppose him and there was a battle in which the Athenians were defeated, whereupon they withdrew to Naupactus. 2 The Aetolians, elated by their victory, after adding to their army three thousand Lacedaemonian soldiers, marched upon Naupactus, which was inhabited at the time by Messenians, but were beaten off. 3 After this they  p53 marched upon the city called Molycria2 and captured it. But the Athenian general, Demosthenes, being concerned lest the Aetolians should reduce by siege Naupactus also, summoned a thousand hoplites from Acarnania and sent them to Naupactus. 4 And Demosthenes, while tarrying in Acarnania, fell in with a thousand Ambraciotes, who were encamped there, and joining battle with them he destroyed nearly the entire force. And when the men of Ambracia came out against him en masse, again Demosthenes slew the larger number of them, so that their city became almost uninhabited. 5 Demosthenes then believed that he should take Ambracia by storm, hoping that he would have an easy conquest because the city had none to defend it. But the Acarnanians, fearing lest, if the Athenians became masters of the city, they should be harder neighbours to deal with than the Ambraciotes, refused to follow him. 6 And since they were thus in disagreement, the Acarnanians came to terms with the Ambraciotes and concluded with them a peace of one hundred years, while Demosthenes, being left in the lurch by the Acarnanians, sailed back with his twenty ships to Athens. The Ambraciotes, who had experienced a great disaster, sent for a garrison of Lacedaemonians, since they stood in fear of the Athenians.

61 1 Demosthenes now led an expedition against Pylos,3 intending to fortify this stronghold as a threat to the Peloponnesus; for it is an exceptionally strong  p55 place, situated in Messenia and four hundred stades distant from Sparta. Since he had at the time both many ships and an adequate number of soldiers, in twenty days he threw a wall about Pylos. The Lacedaemonians, when they learned that Pylos had been fortified, gathered together a large force, both infantry and ships. 2 Consequently, when they set sail for Pylos, they not only had a fleet of forty-five fully equipped triremes but also marched with an army of twelve thousand soldiers; for they considered it to be a disgraceful thing that men who were not brave enough to defend Attica while it was being ravaged should fortify and hold a fortress in the Peloponnesus. 3 Now these forces under the command of Thrasymedes pitched their camp in the neighbourhood of Pylos. And since the troops were seized by an eager desire to undergo any and every danger and to take Pylos by storm, the Lacedaemonians stationed the ships with their prows facing the entrance to the harbour in order that they might use them for blocking the enemy's attempt to enter, and assaulting the walls with the infantry in successive waves and displaying all possible rivalry, they put up contests of amazing valour. 4 Also to the island called Sphacteria, which extends lengthwise to the harbour and protects it from the winds, they transported the best troops of the Lacedaemonians and their allies This they did in their desire to forestall the Athenians in getting control of the island before them, since its situation was especially advantageous to the prosecution of the siege. 5 And though they were engaged every day in the fighting before the fortifications and were suffering wounds because of the superior height of the wall, they did not relax the violence of their fighting; as a  p57 consequence, many of them were slain and not a few were wounded as they pressed upon a position which had been fortified. 6 The Athenians, who had secured beforehand a place which was also a natural stronghold and possessed large supplies of missiles and a great abundance of everything else they might need, kept defending their position with spirit; for they hoped that, if they were successful in their design, they could carry the whole war to the Peloponnesus and ravage, bit by bit, the territory of the enemy.

62 1 Both sides displayed unsurpassable energy in the siege, and as for the Spartans in their assaults upon the walls, while many others were objects of wonder for their deeds of valour, the greatest acclaim was won by Brasidas. 2 For when the captains of the triremes lacked the courage to bring the ships to land because of the rugged nature of the shore, he, being himself the commander of a trireme, called out in a loud voice to the pilot, ordering him not to spare the vessel but to drive the trireme at full speed to the land; for it would be disgraceful, he cried, for Spartans to be unsparing of their lives as they fought for victory, and yet to spare their vessels and to endure the sight of Athenians holding the soil of Laconia. 3 And finally he succeeded in forcing the pilot to drive the ship forward and, when the trireme struck the shore, Brasidas, taking his stand on the gangway, fought off from there the multitude of Athenians who converged upon him. And at the outset he slew many as they came at him, but after a while, as numerous missiles assailed him, he suffered many wounds on the front of his body. 4 In the end he suffered much loss of blood from the wounds, and as he lost consciousness his arm extended  p59 over the side of the ship and his shield,4 slipping off and falling into the sea, came into the hands of the enemy. 5 After this Brasidas, who had built up a heap of many corpses of the enemy, was himself carried off half-dead from the ship by his men, having surpassed to such a degree all other men in bravery that, whereas in the case of all other men those who lose their shields are punished with death, he for that very reason won for himself glory.

6 Now the Lacedaemonians, although they kept making continuous assaults upon Pylos and had lost many soldiers, remained steadfast in the fierce struggles. And one may well be amazed at the strange perversity of Fortune and at the singular character of her ordering of what happened at Pylos. 7 For the Athenians, defending themselves from a base on Laconian soil, were gaining the mastery over the Spartans, whereas the Lacedaemonians, regarding their own soil as the enemy's, were assaulting the enemy from the sea as their base; and, as it happened, those who were masters of the land in this case controlled the see, and those who held first place on the sea were beating off an attack on land which they held.

63 1 Since the siege dragged on and the Athenians, after their victory5 with their ships, were preventing the conveyance of food to the land, the soldiers caught on the island6 were in danger of death from starvation.  p61 2 Consequently the Lacedaemonians, fearing for the men left on the island, sent an embassy to Athens to discuss the ending of the war. When no agreement was being reached, they asked for an exchange of men,7 the Athenians to get back and equal number of their soldiers now held prisoner; but not even to this would the Athenians agree. Whereupon the ambassadors spoke out frankly in Athens, that by their unwillingness to effect an exchange of prisoners the Athenians acknowledged that Lacedaemonians were better men than they. 3 Meanwhile the Athenians wore down the bodily strength of the Spartans on Sphacteria through their lack of provisions and accepted their formal surrender. Of the men who gave themselves up have and twenty were Spartans and one hundred and eighty were of their allies. 4 These, then, were brought by Cleon the leader of the populace, since he held the office of general when this took place, in chains to Athens; and the people voted to keep them in custody in case the Lacedaemonians should be willing to end the war, but to slay all the captives if they should decide to continue it. 5 After this they sent for select troops from the Messenians who had been settled in Naupactus,8 joined to them an adequate force from their other allies, and turned over to them the garrisoning of Pylos; for they believed that the Messenians, by reason of their hatred of the Spartans, would show the greatest zeal in harrying Laconia by forays, once they were operating from a strong position as their base.

Such were the events about Pylos in this year.

64 1 Artaxerxes, the king of the Persians, died9  p63 after a reign of forty years, and Xerxes succeeded to the throne and ruled for a year.

In Italy, when the Aequi revolted from the Romans, in the war which followed Aulus Postumius was made Dictator and Lucius Julius was named Master of the Horse. 2 And the Romans, having marched against the territory of the rebels with a large and strong army, first of all plundered their possessions, and when the Aequi later drew up against them, a battle ensued in which the Romans were victorious, slaying many of the enemy, taking not a few captive, and capturing great quantities of by. 3 After the battle the revolters, being broken in spirit because of the defeat, submitted themselves to the Romans, and Postumius, because he had conducted the war brilliantly, as the Romans thought, celebrated the customary triumph. And Postumius, we are told, did a peculiar thing and altogether unbelievable; for in the battle his own son in his eagerness leaped forward from the station assigned him by his father, and his father, preserving the ancient discipline, had his son executed as one who had left his station.

65 1 At the close of the year, in Athens the archon was Isarchus and in Rome the consuls elected were Titus Quinctius and Gaius Julius, and among the Eleians the Eighty-ninth Olympiad was celebrated, that in which Symmachus10 won the "stadion" for the second time. This year the Athenians chose as general Nicias, the son of Niceratus, and assigning to him sixty triremes and three thousand hoplites, they ordered him to plunder the allies of the Lacedaemonians.  p65 2 He sailed to Melos as the first place, where he ravaged their territory and for a number of days laid siege to the city; for it was the only island of the Cyclades which was maintaining its alliance with the Lacedaemonians, being a Spartan colony. 3 Nicias was unable to take the city, however, since the Melians defended themselves gallantly, and he then sailed to Oropus11 in Boeotia. Leaving his ships there, he advanced with his hoplites into the territory of the Tanagraeans, where he fell in with another Athenians force which was commanded by Hipponicus, the son of Callias. 4 When the two armies had united, the generals pressed forward, plundering the land; and when the Thebans sallied forth to the rescue, the Athenians offered them battle, in which they inflicted heavy casualties and were victorious.

5 After the battle the soldiers with Hipponicus made their way back to Athens, but Nicias, returning to his ships, sailed along the coast to Locris, and when he had laid waste the country on the coast, he added to his fleet forty triremes from the allies, so that he possessed in all one hundred ships. He also enrolled no small number of soldiers and gathered together a strong armament, whereupon he sailed against Corinth. 6 There he disembarked the soldiers, and when the Corinthians drew up their forces against them, the Athenians gained the victory in two battles, slew many of the enemy, and set up a trophy. There perished in the fighting eight Athenians and more than three hundred Corinthians.12 7 Nicias then  p67 sailed to Crommyon,13 ravaged its territory, and seized its stronghold. Then he immediately removed from there and built a stronghold near Methonê,14 in which he left a garrison for the twofold purpose of protecting the place and ravaging the neighbouring countryside; then Nicias plundered the coast and returned to Athens.

8 After these events the Athenians sent sixty ships and two thousand hoplites to Cythera,15 the expedition being under the command of Nicias and certain other generals. Nicias attacked the island, hurled assaults upon the city, and received its formal surrender. And leaving a garrison behind on the island he sailed off to the Peloponnesus and ravaged the territory along the coast. 9 And Thyreae, which lies on the border between Laconia and Argolis, he took by siege, making slaves of its inhabitants, and razed it to the ground; and the Aeginetans, who inhabited the city, together with the commander of the garrison, Tantalus the Spartan, he took captive and carried off to Athens. And the Athenians fettered Tantalus and kept him under guard together with the other prisoners, as well as the Aeginetans.

66 1 While these events were taking place the Megarians were finding themselves in distress because of the war with the Athenians on the one hand and with their exiles on the other hand. And while representatives16 were exchanging opinions regarding the exiles, certain citizens17 who were hostile to the exiles approached the Athenian generals with the offer to deliver the city to them. 2 The generals,  p69 Hippocrates and Demosthenes, agreeing to this betrayal, sent by night six hundred soldiers to the city, and the conspirators admitted the Athenians within the walls. When the betrayal became known throughout the city and while the multitude were divided according to party, some being in favour of fighting on the side of the Athenians and others of aiding the Lacedaemonians, a certain man,18 acting on his own initiative, made the proclamation that any who so wished could take up arms on the side of the Athenians and Megarians. 3 Consequently, when the Lacedaemonians were on the point of being left in the lurch by the Megarians, it so happened that the Lacedaemonian garrison of the long walls19 abandoned them and sought safety in Nisaea, as it is called, which is the sea-port of the Megarians. 4 The Athenians thereupon dug a ditch about Nisaea and put it under siege, and then, bringing skilled workmen from Athens, they threw a wall about it. And the Peloponnesians, fearing lest they should be taken by storm and put to death, surrendered Nisaea to the Athenians.

Such, then, were the affairs of the Megarians at this time.

67 1 Brasidas, taking an adequate force from Lacedaemon and the other Peloponnesian states, advanced against Megara. And striking terror into the Athenians he expelled them from Nisaea, and then he set free the city of the Megarians and brought it back into the alliance of the Lacedaemonians. After this he made his way with his army through Thessaly and came to Dium in Macedonia. 2 From there he advanced against Acanthus and associated himself with the cause of the Chalcidians. The city of the  p71 Acanthians was the first which he brought, partly through fear and partly through kindly and persuasive arguments, to revolt from the Athenians; and afterwards he induced many also of the other peoples of Thrace to join the alliance of the Lacedaemonians. 3 After this Brasidas, wishing to prosecute the war more vigorously, proceeded to summon soldiers from Lacedaemon, since he was eager to gather a strong army. And the Spartans, wishing to destroy the most influential among the Helots, sent him a thousand of the most high-spirited Helots, thinking that the larger number of them would perish in the fighting. 4 They also committed another violent and savage act whereby they thought to humble the pride of the Helots: They made public proclamation that any Helots who had rendered some good service to Sparta should give in their names, and promised that after passing upon their claims they would set them free; and when two thousand had given in their names, they then commanded the most influential citizens to slay these Helots, each in his own home. 5 For they were deeply concerned lest the Helots should seize an opportune moment to line up with the enemy and bridge Sparta into peril. Nevertheless, since Brasidas had been joined by a thousand Helots and troops had been levied among the allies, a satisfactory force was assembled.

68 1 Brasidas, confiding in the multitude of his soldiers, now advanced with his army against the city known as Amphipolis. This city Aristagoras of Miletus at an earlier time had undertaken to found as a colony,20 when he was fleeing from Darius, the king of the Persians; 2 after his death the colonists  p73 were driven out by the Thracians who are called Edones, and thirty-two years after this event the Athenians dispatched ten thousand colonists to the place. In like manner these colonists also were utterly destroyed by Thracians at Drabescus,21 and two years later22 the Athenians again recovered the city, under the leadership of Hagnon. 3 Since the city had been the object of many a battle, Brasidas was eager to master it. Consequently he set out against it with a strong force, and pitching his camp near the bridge,23 he first of all seized the suburb of the city and then on the next day, having struck terror into the Amphipolitans, he received the formal surrender of the city on the condition that anyone who so wished could take his property and leave the city.

4 Immediately after this Brasidas brought over to his side a number of the neighbouring cities, the most important of which were Oesymê and Galepsus, both colonies of the Thasians, and also Myrcinus, a small Edonian city. He also set about building a number of triremes on the Strymon River and summoned soldiers from both Lacedaemon and the rest of the allies. 5 Also he had many complete suits of armour made, which he distributed among the young men who possessed no arms, and he gathered supplies of missiles and grain and everything else. And when all his preparations had been made, he set out from Amphipolis with his army and came to Actê,24 as it is called, where he pitched his camp. In this area there were five cities, of which some were Greek, being  p75 colonies from Andros, and the others had a populace of barbarians of Bisaltic25 origin, which were bilingual. 6 After mastering these cities Brasidas led his army against the city of Toronê, which was a colony of the Chalcidians but was held by Athenians. Since certain men were ready to betray the city, Brasidas was by night admitted by them and got Toronê in his power without a fight.

To such a height did the fortunes of Brasidas attain in the course of this year.

69 1 While these events were happening, at Delium in Boeotia a pitched battle took place between the Athenians and the Boeotians for the following reasons. Certain Boeotians, who were restive under the form of government which obtained at the time and were eager to establish democracies in the cities, discussed their policy with the Athenian generals, Hippocrates and Demosthenes, and promised to deliver the cities of Boeotia into their hands. 2 The Athenians gladly accepted this offer and, having in view the arrangements for the attack, the generals divided their forces: Demosthenes, taking the larger part of the army, invaded Boeotia, but finding the Boeotians already informed of the betrayal he withdrew without accomplishing anything; Hippocrates led the popular levy of the Athenians against Delium, seized the place, and threw a wall about it before the approach of the Boeotians. The town lies near the territory of Oropus and the boundary of Boeotia.26 3 Pagondas, who commanded the Boeotians, having summoned soldiers from all the cities of Boeotia, came  p77 to Delium with a great army, since he had little signal than twenty thousand infantry and about a thousand cavalry. 4 The Athenians, although superior to the Boeotians in number, were not so well equipped as the enemy; for they had left the city hurriedly and on short notice, and in such haste they were unprepared.

70 1 Both armies advanced to the fray in high spirits and the forces were disposed in the following manner. On the Boeotian side, the Thebans were drawn up on the right wing, the Orchomenians on the left, and the centre of the line was made up of the other Boeotians; the first line of the whole army was formed of what they called "charioteers and footmen,"27 a select group of three hundred. The Athenians were forced to engage the enemy while still marshalling their army. 2 A fierce conflict ensued and at first the Athenian cavalry, fighting brilliantly, compelled the opposing cavalry to flee; but later, after the infantry had become engaged, the Athenians who were opposed to the Thebans were overpowered and put to flight, although the remaining Athenians overcame the other Boeotians, slew great numbers of them, and pursued them for some distance. 3 But the Thebans, whose bodily strength was superior, turned back from the pursuit, and falling on the pursuing Athenians forced them to flee; and since they had won a conspicuous victory,28 they gained for themselves  p79 great fame for valour. 4 Of the Athenians some fled for refuge to Oropus and others to Delium; certain of them made for the sea and the Athenian ships; still others scattered this way and that, as chance dictated. When night fell, the Boeotian dead were not in excess of five hundred, the Athenian many times that number.29 However, if night had not intervened, most of the Athenians would have perished, for it broke the drive of the pursuers and brought safety to those in flight. 5 Even so the multitude of the slain was so great that from the proceeds of the booty the Thebans not only constructed the great colonnade in their market-place but also embellished it with bronze statues, and their temples and the colonnades in the market-place they covered with bronze by the armour from the booty which they nailed to them; furthermore, it was with this money that they instituted the festival called Delia.30

6 After the battle the Boeotians launched assaults upon Delium and took the place by storm;31 of the garrison of Delium the larger number died fighting gallantly and two hundred were taken prisoner; the rest fled for safety to the ships and were transported with the other refugees to Attica. Thus the Athenians, who devised a plot against the Boeotians, were involved in the disaster we have described.

71 1 In Asia King Xerxes died after a reign of one year, or, as some record, two months;a and his brother Sogdianus succeeded to the throne and ruled for seven months. He was slain by Darius, who reigned nineteen years.

 p81  2 Of the historians Antiochus of Syracuse concluded with this year his history of Sicily, which began with Cocalus,32 the king of the Sicani, and embraced nine Books.

72 1 When Ameinias was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Gaius Papirius and Lucius Junius. In this year the people of Scionê, holding the Athenians in contempt because of their defeat at Delium, revolted to the Lacedaemonians and delivered their city into the hands of Brasidas, who was in command of the Lacedaemonian forces in Thrace.

2 In Lesbos, after the Athenian seizure of Mytilenê, the exiles, who had escaped the capture in large numbers, had for some time been trying to return to Lesbos, and they succeeded at this time in rallying and seizing Antandrus,33 from which as their base they then carried on war with the Athenians who were in possession of Mytilenê. 3 Exasperated by this state of affairs the Athenian people sent against them as generals Aristeides and Symmachus with an army. They put in at Lesbos and by means of sustained assaults took possession of Antandrus, and of the exiles some they put to death and others they expelled from the city; then they left a garrison to guard the place and sailed away from Lesbos. 4 After this Lamachus the general sailed with ten triremes into the Pontus and anchored at Heracleia,34 on the river Cales, as it is called, but he lost all his ships; for when heavy rains fell, the river brought down so  p83 violent a current that his vessels were driven on certain rocky places and broken to pieces on the bank.

5º The Athenians concluded a truce with the Lacedaemonians for a year, on the terms that both of them should remain in possession of the places of which they were masters at the time. They held many discussions and were of the opinion that they should stop the warn put an end to their mutual rivalry; and the Lacedaemonians were eager to recover their citizens who had been taken captive at Sphacteria. 6 When the truce had been concluded on the terms here mentioned, they were in entire agreement on all other matters, but both of them laid claim to Scionê.35 And so bitter a controversy followed that they renounced the truce and continued their war against each other over the issue of Scionê.

7 At this time the city of Mendê36 also revolted to the Lacedaemonians and made the quarrel over Scionê the more bitter. Consequently Brasidas removed the children and women and all the most valuable property from Mendê and Scionê and safeguarded the cities with strong garrisons, 8 whereupon the Athenians, being incensed at what had taken place, voted to put to the sword all the Scionaeans from the youth upward, when they should take the city, and sent a naval force of fifty triremes against them, the command of which was held by Nicias and Nicostratus. 9 They sailed to Mendê first and conquered it with the aid of certain men who betrayed  p85 it; then they threw a wall about Scionê, settled down to a siege, and launched unceasing assaults upon it. 10 But the garrison of Scionê, which was strong in numbers and abundantly provided with missiles and food and all other supplies, had no difficulty in repulsing the Athenians and, because they held a higher position, in wounding many of their men.

Such, then, were the events of this year.

73 1 The next year Alcaeus was archon in Athens and in Rome the consuls were Opiter Lucretius and Lucius Sergius Fideniates. During this year the Athenians, accusing Delians of secretly concluding an alliance with the Lacedaemonians, expelled them from the island and took their city for their own. To the Delians who had been expelled the satrap Pharniaces gave the city of Adramytium37 to dwell in.

2 The Athenians elected as general Cleon, the leader of the popular party, and supplying him with a strong body of infantry sent him to the regions lying off Thrace. He sailed to Scionê, where he added to his force soldiers from the besiegers of the city, and then sailed away and put in at Toronê; for he knew that Brasidas had gone from these parts and that the soldiers who were left in Toronê were not strong enough to offer battle. 3 After encamping near Toronê and besieging the city both by land and by sea, he took it by storm, and the children and women he sold into slavery, but the men who garrisoned the city he took captive, fettered them, and sent them to Athens.  p87 Then, leaving an adequate garrison for the city, he sailed away with his army and put in at the Strymon River in Thrace. Pitching camp near the city of Eïon, which is about thirty stades distant from Amphipolis, he launched successive assaults upon the town.

74 1 Cleon, learning that Brasidas and his army were tarrying at the city of Amphipolis, broke camp and marched against him. And when Brasidas heard of the approach of the enemy, he formed his army in battle-order and went out to meet the Athenians. A fierce battle ensued, in which both armies engaged brilliantly, and at first the fight was evenly balanced, but later, as the leaders on both sides strove to decide the battle through their own efforts, it was the lot of many important men to be slain, the generals injecting themselves into the battle and bringing into it a rivalry for victory that could not be surpassed. 2 Brasidas, after fighting with the greatest distinction and slaying a very large number, ended his life heroically; and when Cleon also, after displaying like valour, fell in the battle, both armies were thrown into confusion because they had no leaders, but in the end the Lacedaemonians were victorious and set up a trophy. The Athenians got back their dead under a truce, gave them burial, and sailed away to Athens. 3 And when certain men from the scene of the battle arrived at Lacedaemon and brought the news of Brasidas' victory as well as of his death, the mother of Brasidas, on learning of the course of the battle, inquired what sort of a man Brasidas had shown himself to be in the conflict. And when she was told that of all the Lacedaemonians he was the  p89 best, the mother of the dead man said, "My son Brasidas was a brave man, and yet he was inferior to many others." 4 When this reply passed throughout the city, the ephors accorded the woman public honours, because she placed the fair name of her country above the fame of her son.

5 After the battle we have described the Athenians decided to make a truce of fifty years with the Lacedaemonians, upon the following terms: The prisoners with both sides were to be released and each side should give back the cities which had been taken during the course of the war. 6 Thus the Peloponnesian War, which had continued up to that time for ten years, came to an end in the manner we have described.

75 1 When Aristion was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Titus Quinctius and Aulus Cornelius Cossus. During this year, although the Peloponnesian War had just come to an end, again tumults and military movements occurred throughout Greece, for the following reasons. 2 Although the Athenians and Lacedaemonians had concluded a truce and cessation of hostilities in company with their allies, they had formed an alliance without consultation with the allied cities. By this act they fell under suspicion of having formed an alliance for their private ends, with the purpose of enslaving the rest of the Greeks. 3 As a consequence the most important of the cities maintained a mutual exchange of embassies and conversations regarding a union of policy and an alliance against the Athenians and Lacedaemonians. The leading states in this undertaking were the four most powerful ones, Argos, Thebes, Corinth, and Elis.

 p91  4 There was good reason to suspect that Athens and Lacedaemon had common designs against the rest of Greece, since a clause had been added to the compact which the two had made, namely, that the Athenians and Lacedaemonians had the right, according as these states may deem it best, to add to or subtract from the agreements. Moreover, the Athenians by decree had lodged in ten men the power to take counsel regarding what would be of advantage to the city; and since much the same thing had also been done by the Lacedaemonians, the selfish ambitions of the two states were open for all to see. 5 Many cities answered to the call of their common freedom, and since the Athenians were disdained by reason of the defeat they had suffered at Delium and the Lacedaemonians had had their fame reduced because of the capture of their citizens on the island of Sphacteria,38 a large number of cities joined together and selected the city of the Argives to hold the position of leader. 6 For this city enjoyed a high position by reason of its achievements in the past, since until the return of the Heracleidae39 practically all the most important kings had come from the Argolis, and furthermore, since the city had enjoyed peace for a long time, it had received revenues of the greatest size and had a great store not only of money but also of men. 7 The Argives, believing that the entire leadership was to be conceded to them, picked out one thousand of their younger citizens who were at the same time the most vigorous in body and the most wealthy, and freeing them also from every other service to the state and supplying them with sustenance at public expense, they had them undergo continuous training and exercise.  p93 These young men, therefore, by reason of the expense incurred for them and their continuous training, quickly formed a body of athletes trained to deeds of war.

76 1 The Lacedaemonians, seeing the Peloponnesus uniting against them and foreseeing the magnitude of the impending war, began exerting every possible effort to make sure their position of leadership. And first of all the Helots who had served with Brasidas in Thrace, a thousand in all, were given their freedom; then the Spartans, who had been taken prisoner on the island of Sphacteria and had been disgraced on the ground that they had diminished the glory of Sparta, were freed from their state of disgrace. 2 Also, in pursuance of the same policy, by means of the commendations and honours accorded in the course of the war they were incited to surpass in the struggles which lay before them the deeds of valour they had already performed; and toward their allies they conducted themselves more equitably and conciliated the most unfavourably disposed of them with kindly treatment. 3 The Athenians, on the contrary, desiring to strike with fear those whom they suspected of planning secession, displayed an example for all to see in the punishment they inflicted on the inhabitants of Scionê; for after reducing them by siege, they put to the sword all of them from the youth upwards, sold into slavery the children and women, and gave the island40 to the Plataeans to dwell in, since they had been expelled from their native land on account of the Athenians.41

4 In the course of this year in Italy the Campanians advanced against Cymê with a strong army, defeated the Cymaeans in battle, and destroyed the larger part  p95 of the opposing forces. And settling down to a siege, they launched a number of assaults upon the city and took it by storm. They then plundered the city, sold into slavery the captured prisoners, and selected an adequate number of their own citizens to settle there.

77 1 When Astypilus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Lucius Quinctius and Aulus Sempronius, and the Eleians celebrated the Ninetieth Olympiad, that in which Hyperbius of Syracuse won the "stadion." This year the Athenians, in obedience to a certain oracle, returned their island to the Delians, and the Delians who were dwelling in Adramytium42 returned to their native land. 2 And since the Athenians had not returned the city of Pylos to the Lacedaemonians, these cities were again at odds with each other and hostile. When this was known to the Assembly of the Argives, that body persuaded the Athenians to close a treaty of friendship with the Argives. 3 And since the quarrel kept growing, the Lacedaemonians persuaded the Corinthians to desert the league of states43 and ally themselves with the Lacedaemonians. Such being the confusion that had arisen together with a lack of leadership, the situation throughout the Peloponnesus was as has been described.

4 In the regions outside,44 the Aenianians, Dolopians, and Melians, having come to an understanding, advanced with strong armaments against Heracleia in Trachis. The Heracleians drew up to oppose them and a great battle took place, in which the people of  p97 Heracleia were defeated. Since they had lost many soldiers and had sought refuge within their walls, they sent for aid from the Boeotians. The Thebans dispatched to their help a thousand picked hoplites, with whose aid they held off their adversaries.

5 While these events were taking place, the Olynthians dispatched an army against the city of Mecyberna45 which had an Athenian garrison, drove out the garrison, and themselves took possession of the city.

78 1 When Archias was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Lucius Papirius Mugilanus and Gaius Servilius Structus. In this year the Argives, charging the Lacedaemonians46 with not paying the sacrifices to Apollo Pythaeus,47 declared war on them; and it was at this very time that Alcibiades, the Athenian general, entered Argolis with an army. 2 Adding these troops to their forces, the Argives advanced against Troezen, a city which was an ally of the Lacedaemonians, and after plundering its territory and burning its farm-buildings they returned home. The Lacedaemonians, being incensed at the lawless acts committed against the Troezenians, resolved to go to war against the Argives; consequently they mustered an army and put their king Agis in command. 3 With this force Agis advanced against the Argives and ravaged their territory, and leading his army to the vicinity of the  p99 city he challenged the enemy to battle. 4 The Argives, adding to their army three thousand soldiers from the Eleians and almost as many from the Mantineians, led out their forces from the city. When a pitched battle was imminent, the generals conducted negotiations with each other and agreed upon a cessation of hostilities for four months. 5 But when the armies returned to their homes without accomplishing anything, both cities were angry with the generals who had agreed upon the truce. Consequently the Argives hurled stones at their commanders and began to menace them with death; only reluctantly and after much supplication their lives were spared, but their property was confiscated and their homes razed to the ground. 6 The Lacedaemonians took steps to punish Agis, but when he promised to atone for his error by worthy deeds, they reluctantly let him off, and for the future they chose ten of their wisest men, whom they appointed his advisers, and they ordered him to do nothing without learning their opinion.

79 1 After this the Athenians dispatched to Argos by sea a thousand picked hoplites and two hundred cavalry, under the command of Laches and Nicostratus; and Alcibiades also accompanied them, although in a private capacity, because of the friendly relations he enjoyed with the Eleians and Mantineians; and when they were all gathered in council, they decided to pay no attention to the truce but to set about making war. 2 Consequently each general urged on his own troops to the conflict, and when they all responded eagerly, they pitched camp outside the city. Now they agreed that they should march  p101 first of all against Orchomenus in Arcadia; and so, advancing into Arcadia, they settled down to the siege of the city and made daily assaults upon its walls. 3 And after they had taken the city, they encamped near Tegea, having decided to besiege it also. But when the Tegeatans called upon the Lacedaemonians for immediate aid, the Spartans gathered all their own soldiers and those of their allies and moved on Mantineia, believing that, once Mantineia was attacked in the war, the enemy would raise the siege of Tegea.48 4 The Mantineians gathered their allies, and marching forth themselves en masse, formed their lines opposite the Lacedaemonians. A sharp battle followed, and the picked troops of the Argives, one thousand in number, who had received excellent training in warfare, were the first to put to flight their opponents and made great slaughter of them in their pursuit. 5 But the Lacedaemonians, after putting to flight the other parts of the army and slaying many, wheeled about to oppose the Argives and by their superior numbers surrounded them, hoping to destroy them to a man. 6 Now although the picked troops of the Argives, though in numbers far inferior, were superior in feats of courage, the king of the Lacedaemonians led the fight and held out firmly against the perils he encountered; and he would have slain all the Argives — for he was resolved to fulfil the promises he had made to his fellow citizens and wipe out, by a great deed, his former ill repute — but he was not allowed to consummate that purpose. For Pharax the Spartan, who was one of the advisers of Agis and enjoyed the highest reputation in Sparta, directed  p103 him to leave a way of escape for the picked men and not, by hazarding the issue against men who had given up all hope of life, to learn what valour is when abandoned by Fortune. 7 So the king was compelled, in obedience to the command recently given him,49 to leave a way of escape even as Pharax advised. So the Thousand, having been allowed to pass through in the manner described, made their way to safety, and the Lacedaemonians, having won the victory in a great battle, erected a trophy and returned home.

80 1 When this year had come to an end, in Athens the archon was Antiphon, and in Rome in place of consuls four military tribunes were elected, Gaius Furius, Titus Quinctius, Marcus Postumius, and Aulus Cornelius. During this year the Argives and Lacedaemonians, after negotiations with each other, concluded a peace and formed an alliance. 2 Consequently the Mantineians, now that they had lost the help of the Argives, were compelled to subject themselves to the Lacedaemonians. And about the same time in the city of the Argives the Thousand who had been selected out of the total muster of citizens came to an agreement among themselves and decided to dissolve the democracy and establish an aristocracy from their own number. 3 And having as they did many to aid them, because of the prominent position their wealth and brave exploits gave them, they first of all seized the men who had been accustomed to be the leaders of the people and put them to death, and then, by terrorizing the rest of the citizens, they abolished the laws and were proceeding to take the management of the state into their own hands. They maintained this government for eight months and  p105 then were overthrown, the people having united against them; and so these men were put to death and the people got back the democracy.

4 Another movement also took place in Greece. The Phocians also, having quarrelled with the Locrians, settled the issue in pitched battle by virtue of their own valour. For the victory lay with the Phocians, who slew more than one thousand Locrians.

5 The Athenians under the command of Nicias seized two cities, Cythera and Nisaea;50 and they reduced Melos by siege, slew all the males from the youth upward, and sold into slavery the children and women.51

6 Such were the affairs of the Greeks in this year. In Italy the Fidenates, when ambassadors came to their city from Rome, put them to death for trifling reasons. 7 Incensed at such an act, the Romans voted to go to war, and mobilizing a strong army they appointed Anius Aemilius Dictator and with him, following their custom, Aulus Cornelius Master of Horse. 8 Aemilius, after making all the preparations for the war, marched with his army against the Fidenates. And when the Fidenates drew up their forces to oppose the Romans, a fierce battle ensued which continued a long time; heavy losses were incurred on both sides and the conflict was indecisive.

81 1 When Euphemus was archon in Athens, in Rome in place of consuls military tribunes were elected, Lucius Furius, Lucius Quinctius, and Aulus Sempronius. In this year the Lacedaemonians and their allies took the field against Argolis and captured  p107 the stronghold of Hysiae,52 and slaying the inhabitants they razed the fortress to the ground; and when they learned that the Argives had completed the construction of the long walls clear to the sea,53 they advanced there, razed the walls that had been finished, and then made their way back home.

2 The Athenians chose Alcibiades general, and giving him twenty ships commanded him to assist the Argives in establishing the affairs of their government; for conditions were still unsettled among them because many still remained of those who preferred the aristocracy. 3 So when Alcibiades had arrived at the city of the Argives and had consulted with the supporters of the democracy, he selected those Argives who were considered to be the strongest adherents of the Lacedaemonian cause; these he removed from the city,54 and when he had assisted in establishing the democracy on a firm basis, he sailed back to Athens.

4 Toward the end of the year the Lacedaemonians invaded Argolis with a strong force, and after ravaging a large part of the country they settled the exiles from Argos in Orneae;55 this place they fortified as a stronghold against Argolis, and leaving in it a strong garrison, they ordered it to harass the Argives. 5 But when the Lacedaemonians had withdrawn from Argolis, the Athenians dispatched to the Argives a supporting force of forty triremes and twelve hundred hoplites. The Argives then advanced against Orneae  p109 together with the Athenians and took the city by storm, and of the garrison and exiles some they put to death and others they expelled from Orneae.

These, then, were the events of the fifteenth year of the Peloponnesian War.

82 1 In the sixteenth year of the War Arimnestus was archon among the Athenians, and in Rome in place of consuls four military tribunes were elected, Titus Claudius, Spurius Nautius, Lucius Sentius, and Sextus Julius. And in this year among the Eleians the Ninety-first Olympiad was celebrated, that in which Exaenetus of Acragas won the "stadion." 2 The Byzantines and Chalcedonians, accompanied by Thracians, made war in great force against Bithynia, plundered the land, reduced by siege many of the small settlements, and performed deeds of exceeding cruelty; for of the many prisoners they took, both men and women and children, they put all to the sword.

3 About the same time in Sicily war broke out between the Egestaeans and the Selinuntians from a difference over territory, where a river divided the lands of the quarrelling cities. 4 The Selinuntians, crossing the stream, at first seized by force the land along the river, but later they cut off for their own a large piece of the adjoining territory, utterly disregarding the rights of the injured parties. 5 The people of Egesta, aroused to anger, at first endeavoured to persuade them by verbal arguments not to trespass on the territory of another city; however, when no one paid any attention to them, they advanced with an army against those who held the territory, expelled them all from their fields, and themselves seized the land. 6 Since the quarrel between  p111 the two cities had become serious, the two parties, having mustered soldiers, sought to bring about the decision by recourse to arms. Consequently, when both forces were drawn up in battle-order, a fierce battle took place in which the Selinuntians were the victors, having slain not a few Egestaeans. 7 Since the Egestaeans had been humbled and were not strong enough of themselves to offer battle, they at first tried to induce the Acragantini and the Syracusans to enter into an alliance with them. Failing in this, they sent ambassadors to Carthage to beseech its aid. And when the Carthaginians would not listen to them, they looked about for some alliance overseas; and in this, chance came to their aid.

83 1 Now since the Leontines had been forced by the Syracusans to leave their city and their territory,56 those of them who were living in exile got together and decided once more to take the Athenians, who were their kinsmen, as allies. 2 When they had conferred with the Egestaeans on the matter and come to an agreement, the two cities jointly dispatched ambassadors to Athens, asking the Athenians to come to the aid of their cities, which were victims of ill treatment, and promising to assist the Athenians in establishing order in the affairs of Sicily. 3 When, now, the ambassadors had arrived in Athens, and the Leontines stressed their kinship and the former alliance and the Egestaeans promised to contribute a large sum of money for the war and also to fight as an ally against the Syracusans, the Athenians voted to send some of their foremost men and to investigate  p113 the situation on the island and among the Egestaeans. 4 When these men arrived at Egesta, the Egestaeans showed them a great sum of money which they had borrowed partly from their own citizens and partly from neighbouring peoples for the sake of making a good show.57 5 And when the envoys had returned and reported on the wealth of the Egestaeans, a meeting of the people was convened to consider the matter. When the proposal was introduced to dispatch an expedition to Sicily, Nicias the son of Niceratus, a man who enjoyed the respect of his fellow citizens for his uprightness, counselled against the expedition to Sicily. 6 They were in no position, he declared, at the same time both to carry on a war against the Lacedaemonians and to send great armaments overseas; and so long as they were unable to secure their supremacy over the Greeks, how could they hope to subdue the greatest island in the inhabited world? even the Carthaginians, he added, who possessed a most extensive empire and had waged war many times to gain Sicily, had not been able to subdue the island, and the Athenians, whose military power was far less than that of the Carthaginians, could not possibly win by the spear and acquire the most powerful of the islands.

84 1 After Nicias had set forth these and many other considerations appropriate to the proposal before the people, Alcibiades, who was the principal advocate of the opposite view and a most prominent Athenian, persuaded the people to enter upon the war; for this man was the ablest orator among the citizens and was widely known for his high birth, wealth, and skill as a general. 2 At once, then, the people got ready a  p115 strong fleet, taking thirty triremes from their allies and equipping one hundred of their own. 3 And when they had fitted these ships out with every kind of equipment that is useful in war, they enrolled some five thousand hoplites and elected three generals, Alcibiades, Nicias, and Lamachus, to be in charge of the campaign.

4 Such were the matters with which the Athenians were occupied. And as for us, since we are now at the beginning of the war between the Athenians and the Syracusans, pursuant to the plan we announced at the beginning of this Book58 we shall assign to the next Book the events which follow.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 These names are badly confused. They should be L. Pinarius Mamercinus Rufus, L. Furius Medullinus Fusus, and Sp. Postumius Albus Regillensis.

2 About five miles south-west of Naupactus.

3 The reader may refer to the detailed account of the following campaign in Thucydides, 4.3‑23, 26‑40. In the Bay of Navarino, on which Pylos lies, occurred the famous naval Battle of Navarino between the allied British, Russian, and French fleet and the Turkish. The victory of the allied fleet, 20th October 1827, decided the issue of the Greek war of independence.

4 The inscription on a shield found in the Agora excavations states that it was taken by the Athenians from Lacedaemonians at Pylos (Shear in Hesperia, 6 (1937, 347‑348). It must have originally belonged to the collection of shields taken at Pylos which Pausanias (1.15.4) saw suspended as trophies in the Stoa Poikilê, although the cistern in which it was found had been filled before the third century B.C. No doubt the captured shield of the Spartan captain occupied a central place in this collection.

5 Over the Spartan fleet; cp. Thucydides, 4.14.

6 Sphacteria.

7 The Lacedaemonians would get back the Spartans upon Sphacteria.

8 Cp. Book 11.84.7‑8.

9 In the spring of 424 B.C.

10 Of Messenê; cp. chap. 49.1.

11 Oropus was always debatable territory between Attica and Boeotia.

12 Thucydides (4.44.6) states that two hundred and twelve Corinthians died, and of the Athenians "somewhat fewer than fifty."

13 In Megaris.

14 Strabo states that the correct name was Methana (in Argolis; cp. Thucydides, 4.45).

15 The large island off the south-eastern tip of Laconia.

16 From the different parties in the city.

17 These represented the party of the masses; cp. Thucydides, 4.66.

18 Thucydides (4.68.3) says he was the Athenian herald.

19 These connected Megara with its harbour.

20 In 497 B.C.; cp. Herodotus, 5.126.

21 Cp. Book 11.70.5.

22 Twenty-nine years later, according to Thucydides, 4.102.3.

23 Over the Strymon River and not far from the city.

24 The region about Mt. Athos.

25 A Thracian tribe.

26 Oropus was the last city of Attica on the coast before the border of Boeotia. Delium lay near the coast in the territory of Tanagra.

27 This designation is probably derived from that of an originally wealthy class who were able to provide their own chariots for warfare, like the Roman "Knights," who could furnish horses. The three hundred are what were known later as the "Sacred Band" of the Thebans which was drawn up, not as here before the whole Theban line, but many men deep on one wing (cp. Plutarch, Pelopidas, 18 ff.). Thucydides (4.93.4) states that in this battle "the Thebans were marshalled in ranks twenty-five shields deep," a statement which cannot have been true of the whole Theban contingent.

28 Delium was the greatest battle of the Archidamian War; Socrates participated in it and his life was saved by Alcibiades (Plato, Symp. 221A-C); Socrates had saved Alcibiades at Potidaea in 432 B.C. (Symp. 220E).

29 The Athenian losses were less than a thousand in addition to light-armed troops and baggage carriers (Thucydides, 4.101).

30 Held at Delium.

31 A "flame-thrower" was used in the assault upon the walls; cp. Thucydides, 4.100.

32 Cp. Book 4.78 f.

33 On the south coast of the Troad, some fifteen miles from Lesbos.

34 More accurately, with Thucydides, 4.75.2, "in the territory of Heracleia," since the city lay on the Lycus, not the Cales, River.

35 This city, on the promontory of Pallenê, revolted to Brasidas before it had learned of the signing of the truce, but in fact two days, as was later reckoned, after its signing (Thucydides, 4.120 ff.).

36 On the Thermaic Gulf west of Scionê.

37 On the coast of Asia Minor north-east of Lesbos.

38 See chap. 63.

39 See Book 4.57 ff.

40 Scionê was a cherso-nesos ("near-island").

41 See chap. 56.

42 Cp. chap. 73.1.

43 See chap. 75 at end.

44 Since the following three tribes are of southern Thessaly, apparently Diodorus does not consider that area to be a part of Greece proper.

45 Situated a short distance east of Olynthus.

46 The Epidaurians, not the Lacedaemonians (see Thucydides, 5.53); but Diodorus frequently uses the term "Lacedaemonian" in a wide sense to refer to any ally of Sparta.

47 The temple is likely the one in Asinê, which was the only building spared by the Argives when they razed that city (cp. Pausanias, 2.36.5; Thucydides, 5.53.1).

48 Presumably in order to bring aid to the Mantineians.

49 Cp. chap. 78.6.

50 The loss of Cythera was a blow to the Spartans, that of Nisaea to the Megarians.

51 Melos was destroyed in 416 B.C.

52 In Argolis near the Laconian border.

53 The walls were to connect Argos and the sea. This was an enormous undertaking and the walls were certainly not yet completed (cp. below and Thucydides, 5.82.5).

54 They were distributed among the islands of the Athenian Empire.

55 In north-west Argolis on the border of Phlius.

56 See chaps. 53 f.

57 For this display see Thucydides, 6.46.

58 Cp. chap. 2.3.

Thayer's Note:

a For the ephemeral reigns of Xerxes II and Sogdianus, see the article at Livius.

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